Washington — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose this week yet remained near historic lows reached in May 2013.
Long-term rates resumed their upward trend of recent weeks after declining last week. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the national average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to 3.86 percent from 3.75 percent last week.
The average rate for a 15-year mortgage, popular with homeowners who refinance, rose to 3.10 percent from 3.03 percent last week.
A year ago, the average 30-year mortgage stood at 4.37 percent and the 15-year mortgage at 3.38 percent. Mortgage rates have remained low even though the Federal Reserve in October ended its monthly bond purchases, which were meant to hold down long-term rates.
The Fed continues to keep short-term rates near zero, while it considers a rate increase as early as June. Robust U.S. job gains in February, as shown by government data issued last Friday, appear to have convinced many investors that the Fed will soon raise the short-term interest rate it controls.
The Labor Department reported that employers added a solid 295,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate dropped from 5.7 percent to a seven-year low of 5.5 percent.
To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country at the beginning of each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.
The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was 0.6 point, unchanged from last week. The fee for a 15-year mortgage also remained at 0.6 point.
The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage rose to 3.01 percent from 2.96 percent. The fee was stable at 0.5 point.
For a one-year ARM, the average rate increased to 2.46 percent from 2.44 percent. The fee remained at 0.4 point.
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